London secures 2012 Olympics
In brief London has emerged as the surprise winner of the race to host the 2012 Olympic Games. IOC president Jacques Rogge made the dramatic announcement at 1249 BST after the vote in Singapore.
Long-term favourite Paris was overhauled in the final lap as the majority of support from eliminated cities of Madrid, New York and Moscow fell behind the UK capital. London won the final vote 54-50. Lord Coe, the London 2012 bid chairman and a double Olympic champion, had sold the London bid as a means to revitalise a run-down area of London's east end near Stratford, leaving a legacy for future generations. "This is the best catalyst to get young people into sport," he said.
Appropriately, the celebration party is being held in Trafalgar Square, a week after celebrations marking Nelson's famous victory over the joint French / Spanish fleet 200 years ago. IT consultancy Accenture hedged its bets by supporting both Paris and London, ensuring at least some of staff would be able to celebrate whichever city won.
London's bid may has wowed the IOC but the official web site, london2012.org, is fairing less well under pressure. The site remained "unavailable" late Wednesday afternoon after collapsing under the weight of visitors soon after the result of the IOC's vote was announced. ®